6 Ways Network Flow Monitoring Adds Value to Your IT Stack
Network flow monitoring systems provide deep insight into the traffic running across your network, a window through which to visualize characteristics of users and applications as they perform their daily business operations. This level of visibility delivers a range of benefits from faster problem resolution, enhanced security and optimisation that ultimately provides cost savings to the business.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of a flow monitoring systems and why this should form a integral part of your tech stack …
1. Faster Identification & Remediation of Network Issues.
Since networks were invented, users have been complaining about performance and the network is always the first suspect when performance issues occur. Network flow monitoring solution provides a window in into the network traffic to identify and diagnose network issues.
Flow monitoring provides real time analysis allowing network administrators to drill down into traffic for individual sites, applications, or hosts in just a few clicks. Flow monitoring quickly identifies and troubleshoots performance issues such as bottlenecks, congestion and latency/jitter that affect user experience. This leads to faster and more reliable network performance, which can improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
2. Identify Hosts and Applications Soaking Up Bandwidth
A lot of network monitoring systems provide up/down alerting when devices fail or overall bandwidth monitoring via SNMP. For sure this type of monitoring is important for end users and MSPs alike, but it only tells part of the story.
Implementing flow monitoring goes beyond simple up/down or bandwidth monitoring by providing detail of who and what is generating traffic. When a user at a remote site is experience performance issues, flow monitoring systems can look at the traffic to and from the site and see not only whether the link is saturated, but more importantly the specific applications and addresses of devices generating traffic…. Both in real time and historically.
This level of visibility is invaluable in responding to network and application issues making sure that users performance issues are quickly addressed irrespective of where they are.
3. Optimize Network Performance
Over the last few years, network infrastructure has certainly become cheaper, however the dependence on reliable and performant network connectivity has increased. Most businesses depend on network connectivity for cloud application connectivity, video conferencing/meetings, email and web browsing. Performance issues significantly impact business productivity.
Network flow monitoring can help identify configuration issues or inefficiencies that can impact performance. For example, backups to remote servers that may run over into business hours soaking up network bandwidth, specific hosts downloading large files, remote users connecting to file servers across the network.
Configuration issues can cause significant performance impact, network flow monitoring provides the insight to identify and address these issues allowing for optimal network performance.
4. Enhance Network Security
Cyber security is top of mind for most organisations, enhancing cyber security is an ongoing challenge for organisations and MSPs alike. By characterising network traffic and storing a record of network conversations, network flow monitoring provides a valuable tool to help detect and respond to cyber security issues.
Let’s look at this a little deeper … security issues detected by systems like firewalls, IDS’ or SIEMs will provide detail of the specific threat such as IP address and perhaps even information on the protocols and techniques used. By storing historical data, network flow monitoring tools can take this a step further by allowing visibility of who else a potentially malicious IP address has communicated with over time, which hosts within the network may have been infected with specific malware or even traffic coming from suspicious domains, countries of addresses with suspicious IP reputation.
By inspecting all network traffic, network flow monitoring provides an extra level of security to respond to cyber security events detected by other systems helping to identify cyber issues that other tools may miss.
5. Cost Savings and Increased Productivity
No ‘benefit’ list would be complete without the perennial save time and money clause, but in this instance there are demonstrable cost and productivity benefits in the visibility that network flow monitoring tools provide.
A well performing network allows users to undertake their day-to-day business tasks effectively and without frustration. This alone is enough to justify the investment in network flow monitoring. But there are also tangible benefits from a support point of view. When problems do occur the mean time to resolve issues is significantly enhanced adding value to both the support teams and business as a whole.
We often talk about ROI when implementing new tools and vendors are often keen to quote outrageous dollar figure, but the reality is that given the relatively low cost of implementing network based flow, the cost benefits to the business is substantial.
6. Policy Compliance
Network flow monitoring tools are useful in aligning network usage with corporate policy and identifying potential violations. Network flow monitoring solutions that utilise deep packet inspection are able to identify specific applications and websites and associate them with the initiating device.
Every organisation will have a different set of corporate access policies, it may be that file sharing applications are allowed but access to the dark web via ToR based browsers is prohibited, perhaps specific web sites, streaming services or social media applications are banned. Either way, a network flow based monitoring tool is integral in identifying and providing evidence for corporate policy violations.
Network Flow Monitoing is an integral part of the Byte25 solution thay tincludes network based threat detection, application experience monitoring and endpoint performance and WiFi monitoring.
This keeps your customers networks performing and secure. More importantly the Byte25 solution allows you generate additional revenue streams through the implementation of network monitoing and cyber security services without having to invest in additional specialist headcount or outsource to third party MSSP’s.
Talk to Byte25 today to see how the Byte25 can help to develop new revenue streams for your MSP.